Back 2 Business Small Business Recovery Grants

Back 2 Business Small Business Recovery Grants Main Photo

18 Aug 2021


$250M Back2Business (B2B) Grant Program:
Application Opens Today, August 18


$250M Back2Business (B2B) Grant Program:
Application Opens Today, August 18

Nonprofits are Eligible for the Back2Business Grant

Program Overview:

As part of Governor JB Pritzker’s overall economic recovery strategy, the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program aims to deploy recovery grants for nonprofit organizations and small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The B2B grant program builds on the success of last year's Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program – an equity focused business relief program, which directed $290 million to 9,000 businesses in 98 communities across Illinois. B2B is a key component of the Governor’s $1.5 billion economic recovery plan, aimed toward a swift and equitable deployment of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds that have been designated for Illinois to assist in recovery from the COVID pandemic.

DCEO has invested $9 million to support Community Navigator organizations working in every region of the state to assist with the B2B application process and other upcoming or ongoing economic recovery grant programs offered at the State or federal level. 

NICNE is the Community Navigator providing support to nonprofit organizations in Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and surrounding counties to guide them through the application process. 

 Funding available:

  • $250 million to nonprofits and small businesses across the state that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19, including the following set-asides:
    • $100 million – Organizations located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs). (See DIA Map here)
    • $30 million – Arts and Entertainment Organizations that didn’t receive Shuttered Venue Operators grants
    • $25 million – Restaurants and taverns that didn’t receive the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
    • $25 million – Hotels
    • $25 million – Organizations that didn’t receive a BIG grant due to exhaustion of funds
  • Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000 per organization and can be used to cover a wide range of operations/staff/overhead costs
    • Up to $250,000 for hotels

 Eligibility requirements:

  • Revenues of $20 million or less in 2019 and a reduction in revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19
    • $35 million or less for hotels
  • Priority will be given to the following categories:
    • Hard-hit industries (see eligibility guidelines for a full list of priority industries and their definitions)
    • Hard-hit areas – DIAs comprising of 176 zip codes
    • Organizations or businesses who have yet to qualify for state funding or federal assistance (including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), business Interruption Grant (BIG), Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), and more)
    • Organizations or businesses that had less than $5 million in revenue in 2019
  • Learn about eligibility guidelines (also available in SpanishPolish, ChineseHindi, and Arabic)
  • Upon receiving an award, all grantees will need to sign the program Certification Agreement.

 How to apply:

  • Application Portal Now Open
    • Applications can be tracked in real-time
    • Allies for Community Business (A4CB), DCEO's grant administrator, is now accepting applications
  • Learn about the information and documentation required (also available in SpanishPolish, ChineseHindi, and Arabic)
  • Documentation needed:
    • EIN (ITIN business owners eligible)
    • Organization’s 2019 AND 2020 Form 990/Federal tax returns
    • Two (2) organization bank statements – one from the period April through December 2020, and most recent statement
  • List of Frequently Asked Questions also available in: Spanish, PolishChineseHindi, and Arabic


View the Program Flyer here

Find Assistance to Complete your Application:

Nonprofit organizations are eligible for this grant program. The Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) is a Community Navigator, providing application support to nonprofit organizations in Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and surrounding counties.

NICNE, in partnership with the United Way of Rock River Valley (UWRRV), is available to assist organizations via phone, email, or in person. 
Each Friday, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., we are offering 1:1 in-person application assistance* at NICNE's office:

Northern Illinois University, Rockford, 8500 E State St, Rockford, IL 61108 

To learn more or to schedule 1:1 assistance, contact: 

*When visiting NICNE's office for 1:1 support, please bring any necessary documents, and if available, a laptop computer.